EDGAR WALLACE
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Crossroads to Crime 5*
1 The Twisted Candle 4*
2 Marriage of Convenience 6*
3 The Malpas Mystery 5*
4 The Man who was Nobody 4*
5 Clue of New Pin 6*
6 Partners in Crime 5*
7 The Fourth Square 3*
8 Man at the Carlton Tower 4*
9 Clue of Silver Key 7*
10 Attempt to Kill 5*
11 Man Detained 5*
12 Never Back Losers 5*
13 The Sinister Man 7*
14 Candidate for Murder 5*
15 Backfire 5*
16 The Share Out 6*
17 Flat Two 5*
18 Number Six 6*
19 Time to Remember 6*
20 Locker 69 2*
21 Playback 5*
22 Solo for Sparrow 8*
23 Death Trap 4*
24 The Set Up 6*
25 The 20,000 Pound Kiss 4*
26 Incident at Midnight 2*
27 On the Run 5*
28 Return to Sender 5*
29 Ricochet 5*
30 The Double 4*
31 The Rivals 5*
32 To Have and to Hold 7*
33 The Partner 3*
34 Accidental Death 6*
35 Five to One 8*
36 Downfall 6*
37 The Verdict 7*
38 We Shall See 2*
39 Who was Maddox? 5*
40 Act of Murder 6*
41 Face of a Stranger 7*
42 Never Mention Murder 4*
43 The Main Chance 5*
44 Game for Three Losers 2*
45 Change Partners 7*
46 Strangler's Web 6*
47 Dead Man's Chest 1*

This series of films was made for the cinema at Merton Park Studios.
In early 1960, it was announced that Anglo Amalgamated had acquired the rights to ninety Edgar Wallace stories and had arranged for two companies to make them into films. The Film Producers' Guild at Merton Park with Jack Greenwood as producer were to make twenty, while Independent Artists with Julian Wintle and Leslie Parkyn were scheduled to make thirty. In fact the only one the latter made was #3, at Beaconsfield Studios, and it was Merton Park who went on to make about forty genuine Edgar Wallace stories.

The standard varies according to the scriptwriter and director, but the best are very good indeed.
Strictly speaking, the first listed (Crossroads to Crime) was not part of this series, though when the series was screened on television, it had added to it the Edgar Wallace haunting opening sequence with the bust of the great thriller writer. Most of the later films (from #40 on) were similarly included in this tv screening, though they do not have the bust of Edgar in the opening titles.

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Crossroads to Crime (1960)
Gerry Anderson was given a chance to direct this slight routine drama, but at least there's a final twist.
"Mr Miles says, Right Now!" So Connie (Miriam Karlin), who has the best part, must down tools at the roadside cafe where she works. Your friendly neighbourhood copper, PC Ross (Anthony Oliver), sees her being abducted in a Ford Zephyr, and bravely jumps on the car to prevent the two kidnappers driving off. But Ross is "bounced off the road." When he regains consciousness, he is informed that he had been found lying at the side of a road. Mr Miles' thoughtful henchman Diamond (George Murcell) hag kindly brought him home. So why does Diamond hand 50 in cash to Ross' wife?
Connie has been dragged into the presence of rich Mr Miles (Ferdy Mayne). "You've been stepping out of line," she's warned. Miles uses the cafe as a storage depot for all the proceeds from thefts from lorries on the A1.
Ross has been watching the cafe and next day tries to get Connie to talk. Coincidentally Diamond and his men are stealing the cargo from a lorry parked outside. Ross never even notices anything.
Miles plans the traditional "last and biggest job," an 80,000 haul of nickel from another lorry. "Works too easy," observes Diamond, who's getting cold feet with the police snooping round. Ross pretends to accept Diamond's 50 and even some more cash. So much so, that Diamond thinks he's bent and, having bumped off one guard, gets him to act as replacement security escort on the lorry they're going to rob.
When the driver Len reaches the cafe, Ross asks him to warn the police. Len has to be silenced of course. So Ross has to single-handedly stop the goods being taken In a lengthy showdown, starting with the corny libne, "ok Ross,this is yer lot." Diamond has a shooter, pumping bullets at the defenceless Ross, who against all the odds isn't even wounded. Miles "beats it." Sudden end. Vehicles: 651NTW Ford Zephyr driven by Diamond. OKX312 a brown Bedford van that is robbed. YPP545 the lorry carrying nickel. 63GMG Miles' Jag
Edgar Wallace menu

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The Twisted Candle (1960)
Bernard Lee plays his familiar role of world weary police inspector. Francis de Wolff, who often appeared like a left over from silent screen villainy plays Karadis who informs the Yard that his life has been threatened.
He then orders a Samuel Viney (Richard Vernon miscast) to blackmail his business colleague John Lexman (David Knight). Karadis lends his friend John a gun, just in case of any trouble. When Viney draws a gun on him, Lexman shoots the intruder.
It is Supt Meredith of the Yard investigates Viney's death. He interviews Karadis who denies all knowledge of lending John his gun, or indeed knowledge of any blackmail letter. Meredith believes Lexman is innocent even though he is convicted, and resolves to get Karadis "if it's the last thing I do."
After a long search Viney's gun is found down a well. In his bedsit, a draft of Viney's blackmail letter is discovered. Preempting a possible release from prison, John escapes anyway. He contacts Meredith and arranges to give himself up at 10pm. This he does, threatening to kill Karadis if he ever gets the chance. But in his sealed room, Karadis is already dead.

So whodunnit? The other suspects are:
His secretary, daughter of one of Karadis' blackmail victims
The shadowy business partner of Koradis, Dr Griswald or
Did the butler do it for once?! Manservant Pike has been caught helping himself to his master's possessions.
Even more intriguing, how was it actually done, for Koradis is found murdered inside his locked room? And why are two candlesticks missing from the holder? "No idea sir."
A complex tale, not entirely comprehensible, but with a good but solvable twist related to the candlesticks
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Marriage of Convenience (1960)
At a Registry Office, Miss Barbara Blair, acting a little oddly, awaits her bridegroom, a Mr Wilson "from the country." And there he is, arriving in a police car! Suddenly he punches his guards, escaping on a scooter.
Convicted bank robber Larry Wilson (John Cairney) and Barbara are later reunited in her stepdad's garage. She wants her 5,000 for helping Larry get away, but first Larry has to collect the proceeds of his robbery from Tina, daughter of the manager of the robbed bank. What a surprise, she's not at home. Apparently she got marrried, but noone knows where she is now. Larry breaks into the Registry Office to discover that Tina married John Mandle, a real shock, as he's the copper, now retired, who nicked Larry! As Mandle of the Yard, he's now writing a lucrative column for The Evening News.
At the Yard Supt Carver (Trevor Reid) orders "rough provincial" Inspector Bruce (Harry H Corbett) to recapture the escapee. He tracks down Miss Blair, but just too late, since she has left with Larry, after Mandle and his new wife, who are living somewhere in the coastal town of St Gerrard.
Posing as an onion seller, Larry scours the town. Inspector Bruce however knows where Mandle lives and renews an old acquaintance. Mandle is doing pretty well in his retirement, "it's better than a police pension." But as Bruce doesn't meet Tina, he doesn't twig quite what's going on, and simply believes Larry is after Mandle for revenge.
Larry finally finds Mandle's home, but he is not there, only Tina. He shouts at her. He forces her to take him to her husband who is at a boatyard. Bruce is hot on their tails.
Mandle comes face to face with Larry, "I was wondering when you were going to turn up... interesting change, the criminal who tracks down the detective!" Larry grabs the stolen bank proceeds, but Inspector Bruce pounces to make his arrests.
A straightforward chase story, but exciting

The Vespa is 378JHW. Police cars include VON488, DGJ97, and KXF510. The car that Larry drives to the coast is Wolseley UML557, interesting that this car was used for several years as a police car in films, but in this has been sprayed in cream
Wallace Menu

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The Man Who Was Nobody
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
The third film of the series, made at Merton Park, filmed in the summer of 1960 starts promisingly with Hazel Court playing a female private detective. As she fades from the second half of the plot, the drama almost tails away.
James Tynewood visits a jewellers to buy "no finer stone in London." He promptly disappears leaving a bounced cheque for 8,500 and other unpaid bills. Miss Marjorie Steadman is engaged by his solicitor to find him before the police. "South Africa Smith is coming back," is the cryptic message she has to relay to him.
Dressed as a Beatnik, her search starts in Chelsea where she traces Alma Weston (Lisa Daniely), the model Tynewood had taken with him to the shop. No sooner has Miss Steadman set up observation of Alma's from a nearby flat, than Tynewood is found strangled in the river. But why? The jeweller had just been paid, by an unknown person.
The enigmatic 'Smith' turns up. "Where exactly do you fit into all this?" is Marjorie's pertinent question. "Trust me," is all she's going to get out of him.
Alma is followed round several pubs getting progressively more tiddley. Marjorie gets pally. "She's scared of what she knows," Marjorie observes to Smith later.
At the gambling house where Alma had first been seen, Smith shows a stone to the owner, the evil Franz Reuter (Paul Eddington). Smith tells Marjorie "when it's all over I'll explain it to you." Well, it's all to do with Franz being an expert diamond cutter. He offers Smith a pittance and they fight. All is revealed as promised.
Taxis: UXL881, UTF169, YLM215. 3703HX is Alma's car, an estate agent drives UXB779
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The Sinister Man

An evocative opening as a corpse floats down the Thames to Parsons Green lock where it is fished out by the lock keeper (Wilfred Brambell). Two weeks is the estimated time for it having been in the Thames. Death had resulted from a blow to the neck. Superintendent Wills goes to a Consort Gate embassy where he learns the man had been a professor of oriental studies at Oxford. Three priceless tablets he had been working on had disappeared with him.
At his college the superintendent questions the staff. These include Elsa Marlowe (Jacqueline Ellis) who was last to see the prof alive. Ex-Korean POW Dr Nelson Pollard (Patrick Allen) had been away on holiday at the time, and is also given complete security clearance. But Dr Tarn (John Glyn-Jones) is perhaps more dubious, since he is half Czech.
Next, to Martins boat hire yard in Cookham, where a boat had been hired from which the body had been dumped into the river. But before the police arrive, the owner is murdered. Another karate chop had killed him. Since only the college staff knew about the superintendent's visit there, it's back to Oxford!
Suspicion falls on Johnny Chota, a Japanese fellow, when the late prof's pipe is discovered in his room. But was the pipe planted there? And why is Dr Pollard in the money suddenly? We catch a glimpse of college life as we see Pollard proposing to Elsa Marlowe. She phones the Yard when she realises who the real killer is. It's Dr Pollard. He forces her to drive with him to the Bushido Judo Club, where he is to be paid before he flees the country. Police surround the area but Pollard threatens another karate chop, this time on the defenceless Miss Marlowe. "I'm afraid my judo's a little rusty," admits the honest Supt Wills. Police merely hang around outside the building while Pollard engages him in deadly judo. But finally a copper appears with a truncheon to silence the evil Pollard.
To the embassy where the tablets are recovered, into the hands of the ubiquitous Burt Kwouk.

Rather jarring background music at times, in Clive Donner's thriller with John Bentley ever reliable as Supt Wills.

Police car: VUN488. The ambassador's Rolls is 1KYT. Dr Pollard drives Ford 967BYE

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Flat Two (1962)

"You don't need a licence to shoot vermin," Frank Leamington (Jack Watling) tells his fiance Susan Martin (Ann Bell), who has fallen in debt to the tune of 10,000 to said Vermin, Louba, owner of a casino. "Astonishing how it mounts up," she had admitted to Louba earlier. His proposition was that she could pay off the debt by accompanying him to the South of France. "I think I'll kill him," Frank promises, fatal words indeed.
When Louba receives a letter threatening to kill him, jovial Inspector Brown (Campbell Singer) commits a sacking offence by remarking "I wish whoever did the best of luck!" Louba has approached Warden, a barrister friend (John le Mesurier), for advice. You don't need to be a brain surgeon to work out Louba's going to be killed. But whodunnit?
Warden had visited him in his apartment at 9.30pm to discuss the letter. However as Louba wasn't there, Warden was unable to see him.
Charlie Berry (Barry Keegan), Louba's old business partner who married Louba's ex girl friend, with the connivance of hall porter Miller, broke into the flat to steal 6,000.
Frank, the architect of the flats, entered via the back route to demand Susan's IOU's back.

Warden returns to the flat about 10.10pm with Inspector Brown, who discovers Louba dead in the bathroom.
On the case is Dt Insp Trainer (Bernard Archard), a quick witted detective who soon works out what Frank had been up to. "I told you they were splendid!" confides Frank to Susan. That is just before he is arrested.
The tale moves to Frank's trial. He is defended by Warden who declares, "I know he's not guilty." Charlie's testimony proves crucial- that blackmailing letter he had sent and subsequently burnt is enough to get Frank freed. Trainer is thanked: "noone has ever tried to get me hanged with greater courtesy or consideration!"
But just how did Warden know the contents of Charlie's burnt letter? The story concludes with Insp Trainer reconstructing the crime and the fairly self evident solution is revealed, a motive suddenly exposed.

Susan's car: 5935 MG. Louba's taxi ULT381

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Ricochet (1963)
In thick snow Yvonne (Maxine Audley) drives home to Oakwood Cottage. Alighting, she is watched from the shrubbery by a stranger. She gets her husband to phone the police.
Later Alan is at the ice rink (in Streatham) talking to John Brodie (Alex Scott), whom Alan knows from love letters he has discovered, once had an affair with his wife. He wants John to blackmail her for 200. This is only for starters however, as Alan pays for John's room in the nearby Swan Hotel where he shoots John! Only blanks though. The idea is John has to goad Yvonne into thinking she has killed him, then more blackmail can follow.
It all works a treat and John is indeed shot. With real bullets as we've rather guessed. Yvonne returns home to find the police waiting. Alan blurts out a half-hearted confession. But Yvonne has to admit she killed John, even though it was an accident.
Now it's Alan's turn for a shock. "You've been expecting me," Peter Dexter (Dudley Foster) tells him. He was John's partner and knows all about Alan's scheme. He's even got a tape recording of them hatching the plot- cough up 5,000.
Next day, Alan meets Peter at the ice rink. Alan gets the tape recording back and produces a gun. But the police swoop. Peter explains his "conscience" got the better of him and he felt he had to call the police. Or maybe, it was Yvonne's 10,000 that persuaded him.
A tale with plenty of nice twists. Maxine Audley is largely wasted.

Note: 451XPP: Yvonne's Citroen. 2423VC: Alan's car. 5545VC: Peter's car
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To Have and to Hold (1963)
In ttue film noir style, wandering along a derelict beach is a lonely figure, reflecting "on where it all started." The hero Henry Frazer (Ray Barrett) is much more the modern amoral type of hero, and we see him thinking back to when he was enjoying himself, I think the word is, with Lucy his new girl friend on this Bournemouth beach. Officially he is here on work, as his "dear kind inspector" Roberts (a superb William Hartnell) reminds him.
His next assignment is Flat 14 High Trees House SW12 where the attractive Mrs Claudia Matthews has requested police protection as her former boy friend Martin has been phoning, threatening to kill her. George, her husband, is away on business. Frazer spends an inordinate amount of time on this Case of The Frightened Lady, not always strictly in the line of business. But then she is found dead, battered to death with the usual blunt instrument.
If No 1 suspect is Martin, No 2 is George. No 3 is Frazer himself and he is ordered to take two weeks leave.
Arne Cliff House, Sandbanks, Bournemouth is where George is now staying. Nosing around the place, Frazer encounters Claudia Matthews- but although she looks like the dead woman, she explains she is her twin sister Pauline Carstairs. George has killed her sister, she is sure of that: "trap him into an admission of guilt" is their joint scheme, and each day she reports to him of progress at a nearby beach hut. After one week, exposing George seems less important than a spot of romance.
Finally she admits she is actually Claudia, "you really haven't guessed!" She explains their original plan was for her lover George to murder his real wife and put the battered corpse in Claudia's bedroom. Since she had met Frazer all this had changed. It seems only justice that as George is guilty he should be punished. A suitable site for his car accident is found, "it will be all right?" she queries. After using Lucy to establish an alibi, Frazer speeds off for his night encounter with George. However George is ready with his gun and the truth finally dawns on Frazer. There's a fight, Claudia shoots and accidentally kills George.
Then we return to the beach at the start. Inspector Roberts steps up to escort his prisoner away.
Fraser's car is a Triumph Herald 6175RW. George's car 466 GNM
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Five to One (1963)
Roger Marshall's story begins at a posh country club where Alan Roper (John Thaw) and Larry Hart (Lee Montague) talk over a 60,000 robbery. At Hart's usual rate of 5-1 that means Alan Roper will be paid 12,000 of the "most anonymous money you ever saw."
We see Roper's meticulous plans, 1. Blackmail. An insurance worker is forced to reveal information about Larry himself.
2. Disable the burglar alarm at Larry's betting shop. Mate John does this part of the operation.
3. John buys some 'plastic' at Elmbrook Garage.
Yes, the 12,000 that Larry is collecting as payment is, as Roper explains, "so we can rob Him." After doctoring the milk bottles on Larry's smart doorstep, Alan and John find Larry and his wife later that night nicely drugged. While the married couple doze in bed ("wonder if it was the sleeping pills or the television"), the bedroom safe is opened and an impression of his keys is taken.
Then a dummy raid on the betting shop to persuade Larry to keep the 12,000 payoff in his safe at home. All very subtle and complex, so no wonder John protests that it is "far too complicated, leaves a lot to chance."
The night for the robbery. But the best laid plans etc, and Larry's wife is unexpectedly at home. She has to be tied up and can only watch as Alan and John open the safe. It doesn't open. Larry' ha been ultra-careful and changed the combination that they had taken so much pains to learn! Consternation. Alan devises a new plan.
Larry returns home in his flash sports car and checks his safe. At this point he is bashed on the head and the safe is finally emptied of its contents. But the crooks never get away, the police are waiting. They had made one fatal slip.
Cars: 749GMT, the Cortina used by the crooks. WXT633 the false numberplates they use. 558XPC, also YYT819: police cars. 891EXK Hart's Alfa Romeo. The phone box scene is at Kenlor Road near the hospital in Tooting. The Elmbrook Garage used to be on the A24 north of Morden
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